Cooking tips for healthy tuckshop meals — Slow cooking — Beef Ragout

Alison Taffe: Okay so now we’ll move onto our beef ragout. I’m going to fry off my meat and vegetables first for my ragout mostly because I just want to get some more flavour into that stew if I can. Some slow cookers on the market today have a browning setting
just like my pressure cooker did so that way you can fry the meat first and then switch it to slow cook and you get that extra benefit of the extra flavour from the meat and vegetables. Just a little splash of oil not too much I’m using a non stick pan. I’m using a non stick pan. But I do want to fry the meat first so I can set the colours the flavours and also the shape of the meat. So let’s take a little bit of our diced chuck steak. As I said chuck steak or blade makes a fabulous piece of meat for slow cooking as does shoulder which is blade in beef but shoulder of lamb is perfect as well. And also you could use topside and if all else fails you can use rump but it is a little bit too expensive for this dish. We’re trying to keep economy of costs but also maximum flavour so those different older cuts of meat those styles of secondary meats are perfect for us in this one. And they’re cheaper. So I’m just going to get that meat frying away in the pan and while I’m waiting for that to heat up nicely I’m going to cut my carrots my celery and my onion. You can see I’ve cut some little dice here so just a little nice little neat dice bearing in mind that we’re going to stew this or slow cook this for about four or five hours or as I said pressure cook in about 10 minutes. In the oven it takes about two hours. So we don’t want our vegetables too small because that way they’re going to break up. What I suggest you do is cut your carrot in half cut in half again cut in quarter in quarter and then just dice easy like that. I’m sure you can do that it’s pretty simple, right? And if the carrot is small you don’t need to cut it in half again you just cut it just like that. So I say dice but basically small pieces that are all even in size is what you want for this stew. With the celery I’d probably cut that down in half again and possibly even one more because it’s quite big and then cut those into nice little dices again. But just be careful one thing I will say to you it’s not so much about the shape it’s the size. You’ve got to make sure that all the vegetables are the same size likewise the meat because if not one piece of meat will be cooked one piece of meat will be tough. The same with vegetables. Now with onions you can afford to go a bit bolder cut those a little bit bigger go maybe four or five cuts across and then one cut down and then flip him over and cut one safe at the end. Now the reason I can cut that a bit chunkier is because the onion is going to break up and I pretty much need
nice big pieces of onion to match the celery and carrot that I have there. So the other beautiful ingredients in this one are going to include some Italian herbs and also some beef stock and some crushed tomatoes. Okay so I’ve got the frying pan on a tiny little bit of vegetable oil. I’m just going to add my diced meat now to a hot pan hear that sizzle I’m going to just fry
it up a little bit first just to set the colours and flavours in. And honestly you will find that you will get a beautiful flavour from your slow cooker if you do this. But likewise you can just
pop it all in the pan the slow cooking pan put all the ingredients in shut the lid and turn it on for six hours. My sister does it all the time and the boys love it her husband loves it so you know if you’re time poor you can do it a quicker way than this. I just tend to like to do this old fashioned way
of frying the meat first. Alright just while I’m frying the meat I’m just going to crush myself up a little bit of garlic just flatten more garlic on the board with your knife and just with the blade away from you so you’re not cutting yourself just give it a bit of a squash and then just run a knife over. A little bit of garlic in here will be beautiful. I’m going to use garlic and bay leaves on this one and a little
bit of Italian herbs as well. So nice little chopped garlic there not too small
we don’t want that to burn we fry it up a bit. Perfect.
Alright. Basically just going to get that to seal and once that’s sealed I’m going to pop that in the slow cooker with all the veg. I’ve got my carrots my celery
my onions and a couple of bay leaves. I’m also going to use a little bit of my Italian herb mix there as well. So once that’s all fried up and sealed So once that’s all fried up and sealed pop a few Italian herbs on that while that’s just frying there. And once again don’t panic about the recipes you can always go to the Smart Choices website and download all of the ingredients and all of the methods. I’m sure you’ll find exactly
what you’re looking for and you’ll go through this and you’ll remember it because you’ve seen it and then you think yep okay now I know. So with this one as much flavour as you can
going in at the beginning. And then the process of slow cooking is a process of stewing which pretty much changes the meat texture so it’s more palatable it’s tender and bags of flavour goes into the sauce so we want to try and keep all
that into the pan if we can. So now that’s sealed nicely we’re going to pop that into our slow cooker with all the juices as well we don’t want to lose any of that. So we’re not losing any of that lovely juice at the beginning. Just turn my stove off. I’m going to pop my garlic in there now. A couple of bay leaves fresh is best but you know what you can get dried bay leaves in the supermarket and they’re just as good. So fresh is always best of course. Pop those in add your diced carrots in there your beautiful diced celery that you’ve already cut up lots of lovely flavours and some diced onions good couple of handfuls of onions going in there. Now the liquid we all need a bit of liquid in the shoes the meat is not going to slow cook on its own. We need liquid around it so it’s moist while it’s cooking. I’m going to add a little bit of crushed tomatoes and a little bit of beef stock. Now I’m using convenience beef stock because I figure not all of
you are going to be making an eight hour beef stock in your kitchen and that’s fair enough. I don’t even do that at home either. So buy a low sodium stock and if you’re frightened about whether it’s got a lot of sauce in it just use some water it’s fine. Okay a little bit of paprika in there for colour as well just mix that through. And a whole can of tomatoes going in the slow cooker. And then a little bit of stock but if you’re not sure about
whether you’ve got fresh stock or whether you want to use any kind of stock you could just use water. If you’re going to use stock use one with low salt. So just swill out that can of tomatoes get the extra little bit of
tomatoes that’s in there pop it in or alternatively you can just use water it’s fine. Just need a little bit of extra moisture in there just stir that around. Beautiful. And pop the lid on and have a cup of tea put your feet up because it’s going to take four to six hours in the slow cooker. So get this one on early So get this one on early girls and boys. Okay so let’s have a look at how our ragout is doing it’s been cooking away there in our slow cooker for around about four or five hours. Just make sure that the meat is tender that’s the most important thing. Like I said before if the meat is tender then you know that the carrots and the celery and the onions are going to be tender as well. Oh yeah beautiful. It’s a lovely taste of Italy in there with the Italian herbs and
some garlic and tomatoes beautiful. Pop a little bit of season in at the end. We’re only going to get the real taste at the end of the cooking process so I suggest you cook it all with a very small amount of seasoning and then just adjust it at the end like with everything. Beautiful. Okay what we’re going to do is serve this one up with a little bit of buttered pasta so we get a little bit of carbohydrate into our lunch as well. I’ve got some fettuccine here. I’ve precooked the fettuccini I’ve just boiled it and what I’ve done is just rinsed it off with a little bit of boiling water and run a little bit of oil through it so that it can stay a little bit slippery so it’s not just all coming together and sticking and looking rather rather stodgy which is not what we want. So just warm it through and a little bit of oil is great as I said pop a little bit of this lovely ragout it’s fabulous it’s got all the colours still there the tomatoes
the carrots are still bright orange we’ve got the celery and the onions in there making this an absolute flavour
punching dish for lunch. The kids are going to love this. It’s made with love. So not only has it got beautiful ingredients. we’ve made it with a bit of love. And we love our tuckshops right so hopefully the kids are
going to absolutely love this. So pop the lid on. You could keep that warm in the hot box if you want or you could keep it warm in your slow cooker and you could keep your noodles warm somewhere else
it’s entirely up to you. So cooking with some fresh ingredients is a great way of greening
up your tuckshop menus. And it also promotes smart healthy choices through your school. So I hope with the help of a slow cooker and a pressure cooker you too can make these beautiful casseroles and stews for winter and your kids are going to have a great time. Thanks ever so much for watching. I’m Alison Taafe the Sassy Chef signing off. I love my tuckshop and hope you do too. Thanks.

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